Tuesday, June 26, 2012

I mean, minus the hookers and assholery.

If House had existed back in the day when I was in jr. high and high school, my crush would've been on this one: 

The soft, pretty one with the floppy blond hair and the ozzie accent. Nonthreatening, vaguely exotic, very Elwes. 

But it wouldn't have taken me long to get to this one: 

Because Dead Poets Society. And but then, I'd've ended up here: 

As you do. As one does. Sorta like how your Beatle crushes start with Paul, take a little jaunt over to Ringo, and then eventually fix permanently upon John or George. 

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Thursday, June 21, 2012

That was the summer Dill came to us.

Influential Books in the Gleemonex History and the Lessons Learned Therefrom by Young Gleemonex: A Partial List

--Something or other by Andy Rooney: Can't remember exactly which one, but it was an early/mid-80s paperback with his doleful face on the cover. Found at my grandmother's house, devoured over the course of a couple of days one hot summer, age 10 or 11. Lesson learned: Being a crusty old bastard is funny. I should get on that. [NB: and so I did.]

--Sweet Valley High: Entire series, read during fifth and sixth grade ... possibly as late as seventh? Surely not. But maybe. Anyway. Lesson learned: HIGH SCHOOL: UR NOT DOIN IT RITE. [Side note, though: This one friend had Barbies, and what we did was, re-enact all the Sweet Valley High books with the dolls. Only sometimes -- well, OK, every time -- there was an off-script tragedy that generally wiped out the population of SVH (fires, killer bees, tornados that sent Jessica & Elizabeth up over the fence and into the neighbors' pool where -- tragically -- they drowned, giant Rottweiler attack that ended the promgoing hopes of Enid Rollins, etc.). Good times!]

--The bible: Omnipresent in many versions in my house growing up. Particular fave was a very seventish illustrated maverick version broughten by the Jehovah's Witnesses, featuring a multi-culti array of 'luded out -looking US 1970s humans going about their business in the company of various tame/'luded wild animals, or something. I was five, fuck off. Anyway. Carried a real bible around in jr high and HS, as a good member of the Methodist Youth Fellowship, and enjoyed the language (shout out to KJV y'all!), but really had no clue and therefore asked no real questions. Lesson learned: You get a pass for a lot of shit if you can find a bible quote to back yourself up. 

--The Golden Ass: By a person (people?) called Apuleius. First semester of college, Literature Humanities. Lesson learned: The bible is TOTAL BUNKUM. 

--In Cold Blood: Another hot-summer junior high find, read in its entirety in one afternoon/night/early morning. Lesson learned: Psychopaths! With shotguns! Murdering families for no good goddamn reason! World is scary place! You are in danger -- especially sleeping peacefully in your own house! You will never really have a night's totally secure sleep ever again in your life. 

--Sex Tips for Girls: Cynthia Heimel -- awesome freshman year of college discovery at the university bookstore. Went a huge long way toward helping me overcome my anti-sex (or rather, anti-enjoyment-of-sex-because-it's-dirty-and-awful, so-sayeth-the-LORD) conditioning. Will forever be grateful to Ms. Heimel. Lesson learned: People are supposed to fuck. [NB: That's actually a direct quote.]

--To Kill a Mockingbird: Read to me and my siblings by my dad. I was around nine, I think. Lesson learned: You must write. 

--A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again: No, there's no post I can't mention this book in. Read it for the first of a hundred times during grad school. Lesson learned: Stop writing, just don't bother -- you'll never ever be this good. 

--The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing: Loaner from a friend at first real job -- was a bestseller at the time. Ninety minutes I'll never get back. Lesson learned: Oh get over yourself and start writing again. You can do better than THIS. 

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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Now she's a swinger, dating a singer / I can't decide which is worse

So I woke up this morning with the letters K C written on my hand. I remember doing this at 3:12 a.m., just before falling back asleep after changing & feeding the baby, thinking I'd definitely remember what it was about.

Of course, no fucking clue. All day I've been trying to figure it out: Kansas City? KC Royals? ... and the Sunshine Band? Keith Carradine? Kid Cudi? Killer Clowns? KC Armstrong? Kilocalorie? Krazy Cuntz?

Goddammit this is driving me bugfuck.

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Monday, June 18, 2012

Antitoi's tennis continued to improve after that, but mine didn't.

I would like to share with you all the first tones of one of the greatest Track One, Side Ones in all of writing:

When I left my boxed township of Illinois farmland to attend my dad's alma mater in the lurid jutting Berkshires of western Massachusetts, I all of a sudden developed a jones for mathematics. I'm starting to see why this was so. College math evokes and catharts a Midwesterner's sickness for home. I'd grown up inside vectors, lines and lines athwart lines, grids -- and, on the scale of horizons, broad curving lines of geographic force, the weird topographical drain-swirl of a whole lot of ice-ironed land that sits and spins atop plates. The area behind and below these broad curves at the seam of land and sky I could plot by eye way before I came to know infinitesimals as easements, an integral as schema. Math at a hilly Eastern school was like waking up; it dismantled memory and put it in light. Calculus was, quite literally, child's play. 

--"Derivative Sport in Tornado Alley," from the book A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again by David Foster Wallace

And on a side note, peepholes: I am sad for the Kids Today, who'll never know the thrill of actually setting the needle down on a Track One, Side One. They've got a million billion music options and no boundaries at all, but they've been robbed of that moment of yes! this! right now! anticipation. Selah, kids.

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Monday, June 11, 2012

What nice underclothes you both have.

I need to axe you guys a very serious question: What do you do with the clothes that aren't dirty and aren't exactly clean? Like you wore them once, maybe twice, briefly & didn't sweat in them?

I mean -- you can't re-hang/re-drawer them. They're not -- freshly clean. You don't want to deceive yourself that they're ready for prime time.

But you can't toss them in the laundry. PROFLIGACY!

And they look fucking awful in a pile at the foot of the bed (not to mention that this is apparently an arachnid re-spawn point or something, or IT COULD BE), or on that chair over in the corner -- it's the kind of clutter that makes my face hurt to look at. So slovenly. But those clothes are (mostly, kind of) clean, dammit!

Help. Please.

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Thursday, June 07, 2012

Mexico, 1938.

It would be hard to imagine a writer who's had more impact on me and on my own writing than Ray Bradbury. I can't remember when I first read him -- must have been around age 12 or so -- and I think the first book was The Martian Chronicles, followed speedily by all the other short story collections, Dandelion Wine, the great Fahrenheit 451 -- all of them over and over and over.

The astonishing wealth of ideas, the simultaneous belief in both the good and evil that lies within all humans, the sense of tragedy (but also hope) in doom and extinction, and the language -- the language -- atmospheric, lyrical, evocative, spare and rich at once.

I used to sit out on the front porch of our house, after school and in the broiling summertime, copying sentences, paragraphs, pages and sometimes whole stories from his books on my electric typewriter. I would savor his writing, turning bits over in my head, going into whole other worlds with just a few words -- and they've stuck with me all my life.

Mr. Bradbury: Thank you for all of this. Having merged with the infinite, you are immortal in your way.

The nights were full of the winds that blew down the empty moonlight sea-meadows past the little white chess cities lying for their twelve-thousandth year in the shallows ...

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Monday, June 04, 2012

I don't want to be A queen. I want to be THE queen.

In Descending Order of Greatness, Four Books By People I Find Hilarious, Which I Bought In Hardback Even Though I Fucking Hate Hardback Books, Because I Wanted To Support These People By Buying Their Books In the First Run

Bossypants, by Tina Fey
OMS, I loved this so much. Obviously it is from last year, but I'm including it because of my theme. I wouldn't even take it on the train with me because I'd've finished it too quickly. I had to restrict myself to little sips before bedtime so as to draw it out. And I've read it through four or five times since then -- I want to marry it and have like ten thousand of its babies.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, by Mindy Kaling
Love! So much to like here, but my favorite was a chapter on one-night stands, which Mindy has never had one of and explains why not (and it's the exact same reason I wouldn't do it, even if I were single). Close second: Her rant on a "fucking mean Senegalese kid" who bullied her back in the day.

You're Not Doing It Right, by Michael Ian Black
Owie owie ow. Some of the stuff in here is brutal -- like, I read it with the kind of face on my head that I wear while watching about 80% of Game of Thrones. But funny as all hell, and oddly uplifting, and MIB just kills me daid sometimes (in a good way).

Girl Walks Into a Bar ..., by Rachel Dratch
I love Dratch (whom I always call just Dratch, dunno why), and I really liked parts of this, but it's a little thin content-wise, and the first chapter (which is about how she only ever gets calls anymore to play the parts she thinks of as "The Unfuckables") was almost depressing enough to make me quit on it. Glad I stuck with it, though -- it got better!

Anybody got anything else (especially anything else funny) I should read? I'm only four weeks behind on my New York Timeses, I'm up to March on my pile of New Yorkers, and I might get to page four of Birdsong sometime next week, so I got some readin' time comin' up!

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